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Rethinking Wave Impact Analysis of Coastal Bridges

Historically, design equations to calculate hydrodynamic forces due to wave impact on bridges have been calibrated using numerical and physical models consisting of a rigid superstructure. Furthermore, very few flumes exist capable of housing large models so most experiments are conducted at a very small scale, where fully accounting for scaling laws of fluid and structure is complicated.

Multi-physics methods for simulating wave impact can overcome those limitations, allowing researchers to include the effects of substructure, soil, and foundation, but they remain unproven. This study presents findings on the effect of modeling and analysis parameters on the accuracy of forces and displacements calculated with a high- resolution finite element model of a bridge structure. The finite element model represents a 1:5 scale concrete bridge superstructure of the I-10 coastal bridge over Escambia Bay that was built and tested at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University. The finite element model was created using the computer program Abaqus using the coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian modeling technique and analyzed using the explicit numerical methodology.

Including the flexibility of the bridge super and substructure in numerical and physical models is important because the dynamic response of the bridge plays a very important role in the fluid-structure interaction. The presentation shows how the dynamic response of the bridge affects the calculated horizontal and vertical forces, which implies that we may need to rethink our approach to design coastal bridges for wave impact.



Arturo Montoya PhD

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs
Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design
The University of Texas at San Antonio


Call: 512-472-8905

Email: office@texasce.org

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